City, energy firm offset carbon toward net-zero goal

Purchase of credits is equivalent to removing 2,400 cars from the road annually.
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Vicinity Energy, owner and operator of district energy systems across the nation, announced it has purchased carbon offsets for its Grand Rapids district energy operations, with hopes of offsetting carbon emissions in the city by 95,400 metric tons over a three-year period.

The purchase of carbon offsets will allow Vicinity to further support the sustainability efforts of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids 2030 District Plan, offsetting carbon emissions by an additional 95,400 metric tons over a three-year period, without any additional cost to customers.

“Sustainability is one of the city’s core values,” said Alison Waske Sutter, Grand Rapids’ sustainability and performance management officer. “Since 2008, the city has reduced our carbon emissions by 30%, which exceeds the 26-28% Paris Climate Accord target for 2025, and we remain committed to further reducing carbon emissions,” she said. “Vicinity’s purchase of carbon offsets supports our mutual goals to continue measurable progress toward reducing carbon emissions for both our city government operations and community in order to achieve the 2030 District’s target of net-zero carbon by 2050.”

Vicinity Energy supplies space heating and cooling, domestic hot and chilled water, humidification and sterilization to over 100 facilities located in downtown Grand Rapids. 

Through its district energy operations, Vicinity currently reduces greenhouse gas emissions in Grand Rapids by 11,000 tons of carbon emissions annually, the equivalent of removing 2,400 cars from the road. 

“The city of Grand Rapids and building owners in downtown Grand Rapids have received low-carbon energy from our district network for over a century, and this purchase of carbon offsets reinforces our commitment to the city and our entire Grand Rapids customer base in delivering thermal energy that is both reliable and sustainable,” said JJ Loew, Vicinity Energy general manager in Grand Rapids. “We’re proud to continue our greening efforts alongside the city and all our customers to reduce carbon emissions and increase climate resilience in our community, so that future generations may thrive here for years to come.”

The milestone in Grand Rapids marks another step forward for Vicinity in its efforts to further improve its district energy systems nationwide, including its recent purchase of carbon-free electricity in Baltimore and the integration of renewable biogenic fuel into its energy mix. These collective actions bring Vicinity closer to its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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